By Rick White
ALAMOGORDO — Clovis coach Darrel Ray didn’t hide his disappointment after the Lady Wildcats finished third at Saturday’s Class 5A state track meet.
“We came up here with one goal and that was to win the state championship,” Ray said. “And when you don’t reach your goal, it’s disappointing.”
Cibola took advantage of a gaping hole left by Clovis’ stunning failure to qualify its top-ranked 800-meter relay team for the finals on Friday to win the title.
Jenna Glidden capped off an unbeaten season in the 100-meter and 300-meter hurdles with dominating wins and the Cougars sealed the crown by blowing away the field in the 1,600 relay.
Cibola finished with 61 points, followed by La Cueva (52 1/2) and Clovis (47 1/2).
Ray said the Lady Wildcats never recovered point-wise or mentally from a freak fall in Friday’s 800 relay when freshman Brittney Blackmon caught a cleat and fell 10 yards from the finish line while comfortably in the lead.
“The kids did a good job,” Ray said. “But it’s hard when you get a big hole shot into your chances of winning halfway through the first day.”
Clovis senior LaToya Anderson was philosophical about the stunning turn of events.
“It was sad, but it can happen to anybody, said Anderson, who ran a leg on the Lady Wildcats’ gold-medal winning 400 relay team and added a second in the 100 and a fourth in the 200. “But I was proud of the way we came back and hung in there, especially Brittney, who came back and ran a great leg in the medley relay later in the day.”
Junior Monique Walker led the Lady Wildcats’ effort, winning a pair of golds (400 relay, 400 meters), a silver in the 200 and a bronze in the 100 during a strength-sapping, sun-baked Saturday afternoon at Alamogordo High School.
Walker said the heat — which reached 99 degrees — took its toll.
“I’ve had this load before, but never in heat like this,” said Walker, who also finished sixth in the long jump Friday. “I’m kind of disappointed because we came up here to win it. But we gave it everything we had.”
Sophomore Teola Haskins added a second in the 100 hurdles and a fourth in the 300 hurdles for the Lady Wildcats.
Manzano senior Chevonne Miller took home the high-point individual trophy behind wins in the 100 and 200 and a third in the long jump.
Miller’s win in the 200 over a tiring Walker was the first time she beat the Clovis junior this season.